Ovarian excess and the evolution of menopause
By Leigh Van Valen.
An initially great excess of oocytes in mammals decreases exponentially until menopause or the equivalent. There is evidence that this excess is largely insurance against the ovulation of damaged oocytes and that there is strong selection, weakening with age, against damaged oocytes. Menopause is imposed rather than itself being an adaptation. The selection also partly explains the lack of accumulated senescence in the germ line over generations.
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